Do you guys have any must-watch Christmas movies? You know, movies you make a point to watch every year?
I’ll confess — the only one I make sure I get to absolutely every year is Love Actually. I love that movie unconditionally, so if you don’t — scram. I don’t know how they managed to make a movie that happy and uplifting and just…unapologetically optimistic…but they did! And they haven’t been able to do it since, either (see, e.g., Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve, etc.).
The other Christmas movie I usually make time for is It’s a Wonderful Life. I love everything about this movie, but my absolute favorite part is this: You know that scene when things are going really bad for George Bailey, and he says to his wife, “Why’d we have to have all these stupid kids, anyway?” Well, one time when I was watching this movie with my dad, he laughed harder and louder at that line than I’d ever heard him laugh at anything else before. So now whenever I hear it, I think of him…and wonder if he ever felt that way about me…
Those two classics aside, I also love How the Grinch Stole Christmas (original, not Jim Carrey), the Charlie Brown Christmas special, and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. I’ve never seen Miracle on 34th Street, and some of the other children’s Christmas movies (Frosty, Rudolph…) I could take or leave. It’s really Love Actually and It’s a Wonderful Life all the way for me.
So! If you’re planning your holiday movie watching and your holiday party going, allow me to direct your attention to these mini cheesecakes. They’re so yummy and would make a great dessert to take to a holiday party. If you pop them in the freezer beforehand, they can thaw out as you make your way to whatever fabulous fete you have on your agenda. Perf!
MINI TIRAMISU CHEESECAKES (slightly adapted from Brown Eyed Baker)
Ingredients for the crust:
1 cup savoiardi (dried ladyfingers) crumbs (I couldn’t find them, so I used Biscoff cookies – yum!)
2 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
Ingredients for the filling:
24 oz cream cheese (3 packages), at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 tbsp Kahlua
1 tsp instant espresso powder
Ingredients for the topping:
1. Preheat oven to 325. Line two standard muffin pans with 18 paper muffin cups.
2. In small bowl, mix together savoiardi (or other cookie) crumbs, sugar, and melted butter with fork until evenly moistened. Divide crumbs evenly between muffin cups and press into bottoms to form crust. Set aside.
3. To make the filling, beat cream cheese and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to low and add eggs one at a time, beating well between after each one. Add Kahlua and instant espresso powder and beat for about a minute, until completely combined.
4. Divide batter evenly between muffin cups. Bake until cheesecakes are set around the edges, 25-30 minutes. Cool completely at room temperature. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.
5. When ready to serve, top with whipped cream and dust with cocoa powder.
Holy cow! So good. Little note on the instant espresso powder — I couldn’t find it. Or rather, I found it, but it cost like $15 and I didn’t want to buy it. I just got some instant coffee grounds, and I ground it up super fine with a mortar and pestle (a heavy cup and a bowl would work, too).